This is the oldest asteroid impact crater on Earth
A recent study revealed that the oldest crater asteroid on Earth’s surface dates back to 2.2 billion years, the half-life of the planet, and it is present in western Australia and may be behind a major climate change.
The impact crater in Yaruba, which is approximately 70 km in diameter and difficult to identify due to the erosion of its original structure, is classified as one of the oldest on the planet, but scientists were not previously able to determine its exact age, according to «France Press».
Thanks to a highly accurate dating technique, researchers at Curtin University in the Australian city of Perth succeeded in targeting metal pellets that “recorded” the shock of the impact through a recrystallization path, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
The scientists concluded that the impact crater in Yarubaoba was formed 2.229 billion years ago, a date that coincides with the end of a freezing phase called the “Earth Snowball”.
“There is geological evidence (other than that related to the study) based on the existence of clusters and volumes on Earth, between 2.4 billion years and 2.2 years ago,” said Timmons Erickson of the NASA Johnson Center, the lead author of the study. The newest clusters present in South Africa corresponds to the age of the impact crater in Yaruba.
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“It is interesting to note that the conglomerates of ice have been absent in this place from the memory of minerals for about 400 million years after the impact,” said Christopher Kirkland, who is also the author of the study.
The researchers thus presented a hypothesis based on a rule for preparing digital embodiments, according to which an asteroid struck a frozen region and violated a layer of ice with a thickness of 5 kilometers and then tossed into the atmosphere a huge amount of water vapor up to 500 billion tons.
These ejected amounts of water vapor, “a greenhouse gas that is stronger than carbon dioxide,” led to a warming that helped the planet out of this ice age.
This scenario is phenomenal, as most asteroid impact craters have been associated with a global temperature decrease, and the most famous example is the asteroid that struck Yucatan in Mexico and ended the domination of dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.